DACA repeal and its effects on Muhlenberg students read more on page 3 THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 2018 VOLUME CXL, ISSUE 11 muhlenbergweekly.com @bergweekly facebook.com/muhlenbergweekly
Center for Ethics speaker shares experiences and research on Christian Palestinians in Israel to a mixture of applause and pushback.
Seeing through the haze
One fraternity is charged with hazing – another vows against it
severity.” Muhlenberg is not the first college, nor is it the last, to encounter student hazing. A study done by the University of Maine estimated that 55 percent of college students experience hazing. Greek life in Pennsylvania was put on the map last year with the death of Timothy Plaza, a Penn State student who died from injuries resulting from bingedrinking as part of initiation to Beta Theta Pi. In 2013, Psi Delta Psi was banned after the death of pledge Chun “Michael” Deng. Another student died at Lafayette not long after Plaza, although the death was ruled as unrelated to hazing. In the last decade, 33 people in the US have died from hazingrelated incidents, according to Hank Nuwer, a professor of journalism at Franklin College who has researched and written extensively about hazing. An article posted by Times magazine posed the question: What can be done? The fraternity Zeta Beta Tau, which colonized at Muhlenberg in 2015, is one of the first nationally non-pledging, nonhazing greek organizations. The chapter currently has 40 see Hazing | page 4
see Flu | page 4
This semester’s first mainstage features a Dadaist production about the absurd, greed driven rise to power of a corrupt ascendancy. read more on 6
Ian Adler / The Muhlenberg Weekly
The Sigma Phi Epilson house sits vacant and undecorated wihtout its traditional letters on Tuesday afternoon following the fraternity’s removal from campus.
Two students present their different perspectives and reactions to last week’s Center for Ethics guest speaker. read more on 9
We highlight the career of Brandi Valley in the first of three spotlight stories on Muhlenberg basketball players to reach 1000 points in 2018. read more on 12
Last November, allegations of hazing surfaced in the Muhlenberg Chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon (Sig Ep). By December, the brothers were charged with violating the social code and anti-hazing policy, and removed from campus until 2021. “Specifically, the chapter was accused of hazing brothers by paddling them, by having brothers extinguish a fire by spitting mouthfuls of dry rice on it, by instructing new members to sleep at the chapter house and to carry their belongings in backpacks. In addition, the chapter allowed a number of suspended Sigma Phi Epsilon members to participate in these activities,” stated Allison Gulati, Dean of Students, who oversaw the investigation. On Nov. 7, a report was filed alleging Sig Ep of hazing. On Nov. 30, after review by Assistant Dean of Students and Judicial Officer Jane Schubert, they were charged with violating the social code, and on Dec. 7, the Judicial board held a hearing. Sigma Phi Epsilon had already been put on disciplinary charges the year before and revoked their fraternity house. The Judicial
Board took this pervious account into consideration. Although the fraternity brothers and those involved were notified immediately, to prevent interference with the investigation and trial details were not disclosed to the public until Gulati released a studentwide e-mail over winter break. “We also have to [release information] pretty sensitively when hazing is involved, because one of the most important things to us is protecting our students. So we don’t want a student who has reported something to be outed in unnecessary ways, or to be treated inappropriately because they have asked for help or anything like that.” said Gulati. As a result, few have come forward or have been willing to share information on what happened. The silence, however, does not mean the problem isn’t there, said Gulati. “There are other student groups that face hazing issues all the time. Those could be performing arts groups, clubs, athletic teams, other fraternities and sororities,” said Gulati, “Hazing is happening on every college campus in America. And so we want students to be aware, based on what occured, what can happen as a result of that and the
By Gregory Kantor Editor-In-Chief This year’s flu season is shaping up to be among the worst on recent record, with over 100,000 laboratory-confirmed cases as of last week, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The dominant strain of this flu season is H3N2, which can cause more severe symptoms and explains the higher than usual incidence rates, says Dr. Chrysan Cronin, Director and Assistant Professor of Public Health. “In general, we see more hospitalizations and deaths due to flu when H3N2 is dominant,” said Cronin. “However, we will need to wait until the season is over to really be able to compare this flu season.” In Lehigh County, the Pennsylvania Department of Health reports nearly 1,200 confirmed cases, good enough for the eighth highest total by county in the Commonwealth. Over the weekend, Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest, a large hospital located in the nearby Allentown suburbs, received national media attention for adding surge tents, part of its strategy to manage the influx of flu patients to their emergency departments. But here at Muhlenberg, the situation is not quite as dire, at least not yet — since the beginning of the spring semester, the College’s Health Center reports that less than 15 students have influenza or an influenza-like illness. With the semester now in its fourth week, and with federal officials warning that the peak of the season has not passed, efforts on campus are focused squarely on prevention. Similar to years past, cleaning has increased in high-traffic areas across campus, including twice-daily in all dormitory bathrooms and common areas. “This year we were much more proactive in getting the cleaning operation up and running, and many of the prepartions were ready before students returned to campus,” said Brynnmarie Dorsey, the Executive
read more on 4
By Chloe Gravereaux Asst. Managing Editor
Can ‘Berg keep the flu at bay?
THE MUHLENBERG WEEKLY NEWS THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 2018
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Courtesy of Muhlenberg College Department of Campus Safety Monday, January 29 Check the Welfare - 4:22 p.m. In Seegers Union, there was a report to locate an individual. Contact was made with the individual, and there was no further incident.
Suspicious Person - 10:45 p.m. In Seegers Union, there was a report of a suspicious person. The individual was identified and spoken to and left the area.
Suspicious Person - 11:39 p.m. In Egner Memorial Chapel, there was a report of a suspicious person. The area was checked, and the individual could not be located.
Friday, February 2 Abandon 911 - 2:37 a.m. In Village 2 at 2263 Turner Street, there was a report of a call from an emergency phone. Upon arrival, no one was in the area.
Tuesday, January 30 Disabled Vehicle - 5:37 p.m. At North 23rd Street, there was a report of keys being locked in a vehicle. A Campus Safety Officer was successful in retrieving the keys from the vehicle.
Traffic Accident - 5:57 p.m. At 22nd and Chew Streets, there was a report of a motor vehicle accident involving a College vehicle. Information was exchanged, and there was no further incident.
Wednesday, January 31 Suspicious Activity - 12:15 a.m. In Prosser Annex, Second Floor, there was a report of suspicious activity. Upon the Officer’s arrival, nothing could be noted.
Fire Alarm Sounding - 8:50 p.m. At 432 Albright Street, there was a report of a fire alarm sounding from cooking. The system was silenced and reset with no further incident.
Panic Alarm - 7:11 a.m. In Trexler Library, there was a report of a pushed alarm. Upon arrival, officers spoke with the individual who accidentally pushed the button. Found Property - 2:17 p.m. In Seegers Union, there was a report of a found wallet and cell phone. The items were placed in the lost and found locker. Thursday, February 1 Suspicious Activity - 3:24 a.m. On the Back Drive, there was a report of suspicious activity. The individual was identified and spoken to, and there was no further incident. Lost Property - 8:00 a.m. On campus, there was a report of a lost wallet and keys.
Saturday, February 3 Sick Student - 1:46 p.m. On Campus, there was a report of a sick student. Muhlenberg College EMS responded, and the student was transported to the hospital by a Campus Safety Officer. Lost Property - 1:33 a.m. In Seegers Union, there was a report of lost keys. Disabled Vehicle - 4:58 p.m. At the Hillside House parking lot, there was a report to jump start a vehicle. A Campus Safety Officer successfully started the vehicle. Property Damage - 11:39 p.m. At the President’s House on 339 Leh Street, there was a report of a fallen tree branch causing damage to a fence. Barricades were placed, and Plant Operations was notified.
THE MUHLENBERG WEEKLY NEWS THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 2018
Deserving, determined, and debating Muhlenberg students detail the limitations of DACA By Alyssa Hertel Managing Editor According to the MerriamWebster dictionary, the word dreamer has two definitions. The first, “one that dreams.” The other describes “one who is unpractical or idealistic.” But the term dreamer has taken on a new meaning, one riddled with emotional, political and controversial subtext not so easily explained away by a definition that trivializes those it describes. One of those people is Armando, a Muhlenberg College student who asked that we not include his last name. Despite his contributions to the college and Allentown community, he has been delegated to the largely anonymous population of immigrants known as Dreamers. For Armando, the Dreamer narrative is problematic; for him, and so many like him, there’s a lot more issues behind the term. “It says that some immigrants are more deserving than other,” said Armando. “Questions that focus on Dreamers feed into this narrative of good immigrant versus bad immigrant. The DREAM Act was introduced in 2001 and it’s upsetting that we are still debating if it should become law in 2018. The DREAM Act should’ve been passed years ago and we should be focusing on giving legal status to the people who don’t qualify for it.” The people called Dreamers get the all-encompassing nickname from the DREAM (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) Act, a piece of legislation introduced but never passed that would provide its recipients a path to citizenship. Beneficiaries of the proposal would have to complete a series of requirements in a span of six years to be granted permanent residency. Because of the failure to pass the DREAM Act, President Barack Obama introduced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration policy in 2012. DACA shares many similarities with its predecessor, allowing individuals who meet all the requirements a two-year period of deferred action from deportation. Some of the guidelines for those enrolled in DACA include: came to the United States before their 16th birthday; have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007; are currently in school; have graduated or obtained a
certificate of completion, or have served in the military; and have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors. According to figures from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, close to 800,000 people have been approved for DACA since its inception. However, 689,800 people still had DACA status when President Donald Trump rescinded the policy in September 2017. From those almost 700,000 immigrants, nearly 6,000 are in Pennsylvania alone. Out of that number, there are some at Muhlenberg. Armando came to the United States when he was two years old. His journey began with his mother who, in his words, risked it all and gave up her life in Mexico to give her children a better future. He, like his parents, worked various jobs to make ends meet — all while dealing with the frustrations of not having the ability to obtain a driver’s license or legal work. Armando takes classes at Muhlenberg and works to offset the cost of tuition since undocumented immigrants are not eligible for federal aid, whether or not they are a DACA recipient. He hopes to become a lawyer. And while Armando is involved in the place he’s called home for over 20 years, he wants people to recognize the bigger issue. “I understand that allies want to state our achievements to persuade Americans to support our cause, but I don’t think it’s helping,” said Armando. “Having a high GPA or being
highly involved in the Allentown community and school should not matter. We all deserve a path to citizenship. We all deserve to have basic human rights.” Darling Cerna ‘17 came to the United States with her parents when she was five years old. She found it difficult to adjust to the lifestyle here, made only more difficult because her entire family remained in Guatemala. She’s missed the opportunity to spend countless holidays with extended family, many of whom have since passed away, with Cerna unable to say goodbye. While her parents have found it hard to obtain the American dream without the ability to buy a home or take out loans, they sacrificed everything they knew and had to give Cerna and her sister better opportunities. As a DACA student, it was challenging for Cerna to find a way to pay for a college education. Because of that, she feels like Muhlenberg chose her, not the other way around. “When you’re a DACA student, it’s even more difficult to find scholarships and grants that do not involve federal aid,” said Cerna. “Muhlenberg was the only school that admitted me due to this reason. Sure, I would’ve loved to get ten acceptance letters and then pick the school I liked the most, but at the end of the day Muhlenberg was really the right fit for me. They paid for a large majority of my tuition, and I was extremely
thankful.” For four years, Cerna took classes and held a work study position. On weekends, she would drive an hour and a half each way to her job back home in New Jersey. After graduation, she got a job as a human resources coordinator for S&S Activewear, helping to facilitate communication between employees and management. She hopes to go back to school for her master’s degree in the fall, but with everything happening right now, she’s going to work for as long as she can. For Cerna, she wants those opposed to DACA, and any path for immigrants to obtain legal status, to educate themselves and check their ethics. She wants to remind people that DACA recipients are everywhere. “They go to school with your children, they go to work with you, they graduate college with you, they shop at the same supermarket as you and dream just as much, if not more.” According to the Pew Research Center, there are approximately 11 million unauthorized immigrants in the United States. With such a small percentage of those people benefitting from DACA before it was rescinded, policies like it still leave behind a majority of undocumented immigrants. While DACA helped
Armando secure an education and put him one step closer to becoming a lawyer, it does nothing to help anyone who is ineligible or doesn’t fall into the guidelines, like his mother. “We don’t want to leave anyone behind this time,” said Armando in a separate interview with the Morning Call. Armando and Cerna are just two examples of the opportunities that DACA can provide for undocumented immigrants. Without it, they lose the ability to do things like own a car and pay for the insurance or work in the United States, things citizens take for granted every day. For them, and the innumerable other human beings policies like this would help, losing these protections also means forcible deportation from the country that is their home. “To me, it doesn’t make sense to tell someone to go back where they came from, especially when most DACA students, including myself, were only a few years old when they came to this country,” said Cerna. “I am 22 years old and I only spent 5 years in Guatemala. If you do the math, that means I have spent 17 years of my life here. I am not an American on paper, but I am more American than anything else.”
Photo credit for this image and its modified version on the front page: “Philly DACA march” by Joe Piette September 5, 2018
4 from Hazing page 1
members, four of whom just joined. The incident with Sig Ep hasn’t discouraged the brothers from continuing to recruit, said President Matthew Itzkowitz, ‘19. Rather, as Itzkowitz explains, it makes them proud to be nonpledging. “When people were rushing us, we would normally tell them that we’re not hazing, we’re not pledging to begin with,” said Itzkowitz, “ but we would make sure that they knew that during rush week so that way they didn’t have any doubts considering what had happened. They wouldn’t have to worry about that.” After a brother died from a hazing incident in 1989, the fraternity at the national level stopped pledging and hazing, which Itzkowitz wanted to emphasize considering the current negativity associated with Greek life. “I think that fraternities and sororities just get a really negative name in general,” said Itzkowitz. “ I think that the more positive news that we get out about Greek Life the more the public opinion of it will change. Schools around
THE MUHLENBERG WEEKLY NEWS THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 2018 the nation are just shutting down all greek life, regardless of whether they have or haven’t done something wrong so if we could let it be known that there are good organizations out there then I think the ones that are good won’t be and shouldn’t be punished.” As part of Muhlenberg Greek Life, the brothers need to partake in Philanthropy, which ZBT does through Get On The Ball, a fundraiser that collects donations for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. ZBT also hosts Green Light Go, an event which teaches consent. Although they are open in discussing their hazing policies, ZBT doesn’t discuss the matters with other Greek organizations. “Hazing and pledging isn’t something that we talk to other organizations about, like other fraternities and sororities. I know everyone that’s in ZBT knows and is open about the fact that we don’t haze or pledge. So if anyone ever asks us they know. Everyone is equally able to talk about that.” Students can report an incident of hazing anonymously on the College’s Greek Life page, under Report Hazing. Students can also call Camplus Safety at 484-664-3110.
from Flu page 1
Director of Health and Counseling Services. Some of the other preparations include various communication efforts through posters and emails about symptoms and strategies to prevent further transmission. The Dean of Students office has also re-opened its “Student Report of Illness” form, last used during the Spring 2017 semester’s norovirus outbreak. “The purpose of the form is to track influenza and gastrointestinal virus activity on campus,” said Dorsey. “So if there is an area on campus that has a higher incidence than others, we can target cleaning and prevention activities accordingly.” On college campuses, specifically, the risk of infection is amplified. “College students live in close quarters, and have a tendency to go to class or to the dining room and other public spaces even when they are sick” said Cronin. “Students who get the flu should heed the advice of the health center and either go home or quarantine themselves so that they do not spread the virus around the campus.”
Of particular note for this year is the College’s efforts to stress “social isolation” for students who feel sick or have a confirmed case of the flu. According to an email sent to students on Jan. 17, those who think they may have the flu and who cannot go home were instructed to “not attend classes or any public gatherings”
But here at Muhlenberg, the situation is not quite as dire. and return to normal activities after 24 fever-free hours without medication. “We’ve provided additional tools and resources to the faculty and staff on how to handle classroom attendance and sick leave policies. We’ve also tailored messaging to students on this, as well,” said Allison Gulati, Dean of Students. Gulati stressed that prevention efforts began in earnest last semester, with the free flu shot fair in the Brown Hall quad. To date, Health Center nurses have vaccinated approximately 230 students, more than double the usual number, said Dorsey, although this estimate does not account for students who may have received flu shots off cam-
pus. Although H3N2 was included in the vaccine, it mutated during the manufacturing process; however, the vaccine is still recommended for everyone. “Getting the vaccine does still protect against the other circulating strains and gives some protection against H3N2,” said Cronin. “People who are vaccinated generally have less severe cases and recover faster.” “It’s not too late to get vaccinated,” said Dorsey, who added that the Health Center will continue to offer free flu shots as long as the supply from the Allentown Health Bureau exists. But despite the increased vaccination efforts, Muhlenberg faces the same challenge that other college campuses struggle with annually — convincing students to get vaccinated. The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases estimates that the average college campus has flu vaccination rates ranging from eight to thirty nine percent. “The bottom line is that we should all be vaccinated to protect not only ourselves, but others in our community,” added Cronin. “And if we do get the flu, we should be vigilant in making sure we do not put others at risk.”
Hard pressed but not crushed
Center for Ethics speaker discusses the controversial Israeli occupation of Palestine
By Chloe Gravereaux Asst. Managing Editor “It’s very difficult for us to discuss Palestine here in the United states,” began Dr. Maura Finkelstein, the codirector of Center for Ethics. “This discussion is fraught and uncomfortable, and so we must have it.” On Thursday, Feb. 1, the College hosted Dr. Sa’ed Atshan, a Palestinian Quaker and professor of peace and conflict studies at Swarthmore College, who gave a talk titled Palestinian Christians: Past, Present and Future, in Miller Forum, Moyer hall at 7:00 p.m. Atshan’s speech, which lasted approximately 30 minutes, presented Israel as an occupying force on dwindling Palestinian land. His talk was sprinkled with encouraging applause and hearty laughter from the audience. It delved into the experiences of the 20 percent of people in the region that identify as Palestinian Christians, including himself. On large screens behind him, Atshan contrasted images of war-torn Gaza and refugee camps, with the Quaker boarding school which he attended, his cousins’ toddlers in santa hats
and Bethlehem (the MiddleEastern city, not the one here in the Lehigh Valley) decorated for Christmas. He then described the intense forms of oppression in the West Bank; from families being forced to demolish their own homes to avoid bulldozing costs, to Israeli military brutality and military blockades that impede movement. “One of the most painful images in East Jerusalem is when Palestinian families bulldoze their own homes,” said Atshan. “Once your home is slated for demolition, if you don’t demolish it yourself, you are given the bill and you have to pay for the security and the infrastructure for the destruction of your home. Most Palestinians cannot afford these and they will go to prison if they are unable to pay the fines. So you will literally see father, mother and children chipping away at their own house after they have received this demolition order.” Additionally, Atshan explained that there are over 500 checkpoints scattered over an area 14 percent the size of New Jersey. A trip to school or work that would normally take 15 minutes to travel could take as long as six hours, and can at
times be deadly. “Many Palestinian women have died giving birth at these checkpoints,” said Atshan. “[Laborers will] start lining up at three in the morning so that they could get to work at nine in the morning. Imagine each and every day having to go through this, being confined like chicken, or like cattle, every single day.” Atshan also touched on a feeling of abandonment by American Christians, who assume that Palestinians are all Muslim and have sided with Israel in the conflict. He also showcased Palestinian Christian resistance who he admires, including a woman whose house was surrounded on all three sides by the wall and whose children could see a sniper from their window. He then showed his cousin’s engagement photos. “Despite all of this madness, life goes on.” said Atshan, “There is resilience and creativity and agency and resistance. That is really what we need to support.” He then ended by reading a biblical passage commonly quoted by Palestinian Christians. “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed. Perplexed, but not in despair. Persecuted,
but not abandoned. Struck down but not destroyed,” he said, “Thank you so much.” Then, the questions began. At the start of the question and answer session, students were shy to come forward, but by the time they were dismissed half an hour later there was a line of almost ten students waiting to talk. Atshan thanked everyone who asked him a question and answered each one with cited sources. Yael Green ‘19 brought up an experience of her friend in the Israeli army. “I just wanted to thank you for coming out today and sharing your story. I know you talked a little bit about the checkpoint. I have a friend in the Israeli army and she actually served in the checkpoint area and she actually stopped an ambulance that was trying to come into Israel that had hundreds of bombs in it that they were trying to use as terrorist attacks. And I just wanted to know what your response was to the fact that checkpoints actually have helped save hundreds, thousands of lives… and the terrorist rate has gone down significantly.” After suggesting that she look at the UN Coordination of
Humanitarian Affairs website, which contains information on checkpoints, including how most separate Palestinians from their lands, Asthan then remarked that he often gets questions like this. But he clarified that he came to campus to share his experiences. “When I represent myself, that’s all I can represent. Is myself. But as I represent myself, I am put in this position where [I’m asked] ‘what about the other side?’ and what about everything else you haven’t represented? Where is the other side? And, I have to admit, that that sometimes can be dehumanizing, because I think every voice deserves to stand alone, on its own terms, and every set of experiences is valid in its own way.” This response received applause from some audience members. Another student came to the mic, apologizing, saying she never meant to — nor would anyone at Muhlenberg — intend to dehumanize him. Some gave Atshan a standing ovation. Others were audible in their contestment. Read more with student opinions on the event on page 9.
“In order to attain the impossible, one must attempt the absurd.” —Miguel de Cervantes
Featured Artist: Frankie Parker Freedom to Play: In the first iteration of a new column showcasing campus creators, this sophomore takes center stage
By Brooke Weber Arts & Culture Editor
Cole Geissler / The Muhlenberg Weekly
By Ellen Powers Contributing Writer For the introduction of the Artist of the Week, the column will be featuring Frankie Parker, a visual artist in the class of 2020. Frankie Parker is an English major from Haddon Township, New Jersey. She also has minors in Art and Spanish. During her time at Muhlenberg so far, Frankie has taken the art courses Printmaking I, Drawing from Nature and Drawing Studio. Art has been a part of Frankie’s life for as long as she can remember. Her mother is an artist, so she was exposed to art at a very young age. Frankie was not initially planning on pursuing art in college, but that changed in high school when she began taking more art classes and became close with her art teachers. This encouraged her to decide to pursue art in college. In addition to drawing, the medium of art Frankie specializes in is mixed media. Mixed media is essentially collaging, but the images are layered with paint or marker on top. Frankie typically makes her mixed media pieces more abstract in nature. So far, Frankie has enjoyed her experience with art at Muhlenberg. She likes being able to learn how to draw better than before. Also, she noted that it was interesting working in a
small department; sometimes there are people not actually in the art department taking art classes, which changes the experience in that class. Frankie is involved in several activities at Muhlenberg in addition to her coursework. She runs on the track and crosscountry teams, and she is one of the art editors for Muses, Muhlenberg’s literary magazine. Frankie’s other hobbies include Art has been a part of Frankie’s life for as long as she can remember. Her mother is an artist, so she was exposed to art at a very young age. running, playing bass guitar, cooking and writing. Her interest in creative writing has grown a lot since coming to Muhlenberg and taking an Introduction to Creative Nonfiction class. Some of Frankie’s favorite classes that she has taken at Muhlenberg include her Printmaking course, an Art History course, an Anthropology course and her English courses. Frankie’s final project from her Drawing Studio course is currently hanging in Muhlenberg’s Center for the Arts, but this isn’t the first time her art has been recognized. In high school, Frankie’s art was hung up at the State House in Trenton, New Jersey as part of
the Youth Art Month Exhibit. Frankie’s art was also previously hung up in a local art show. For her final project in her Drawing Studio class, Frankie drew a portrait of a model. The portrait was drawn using the mediums of charcoal and conte crayon. Conte crayon is a medium similar to charcoal, but it also has oil that helps with spreading it in the drawing. Interestingly, Frankie was one of only a few students to incorporate the model’s tattoos in her portrait. Frankie explained that this was partially because of the angle at which she was sitting to draw the portrait, but she also added that her portrait wasn’t turning out as “interesting” as she would have liked, so she decided to include them to add a more interesting touch to her portrait. In regards to her life after Muhlenberg, Frankie is not quite sure what she wants to do for a career. She is currently looking at internships at several art museums, although she isn’t sure if that is where she wants to make her career. Frankie is also considering going into art therapy. As she explained, she “wants to help people, but art is something I can do on my own.” Even if she doesn’t end up doing art as her career, Frankie would still like to keep art within her reach, since it has played a major role in her world for so long.
Muhlenberg is well known for its ever-present abundance of student-led creative ensembles. In one weekend, the eventsavvy student might attend an a capella concert, a jazz band showcase and an improv comedy show, clapping and jiving and laughing well into the early hours of the morning. Though each of these performance types serves to entertain its audience, one ensemble directly implicates its audience in its performances, transforming those who are normally meant to passively watch and listen into active members of – and, indeed, makers of – the show itself. This performance ensemble is ArtCo, a devised theatre troupe that prides itself on its inability to be pinned down to any one established art form. On Jan. 31, the group held an open workshop, which was followed by auditions on Feb. 4. Attendees at both of these events were instructed to prepare and bring nothing but themselves, a testament to the ensemble’s focus on collaborative brainstorming and organically conceived ideas. One such attendee, Gwen Wilkie ‘20, was struck by the carefree, creative atmosphere surrounding the workshop. “There was absolutely no pressure coming from anyone to be anything,” said Wilkie. “It was just a really fun time where we got to create something with other people … ArtCo is unique at Muhlenberg because there is absolutely nothing like it. No one knows what it is, even ArtCo itself isn’t sure quite what it is, but that doesn’t get in the way of them being very them. There is not another group that is a mix of devised theatre and performance art on campus.” Elena Nahrmann ‘19, the group’s Performance Ensemble Committee Representative, likewise asserts that, though ArtCo shares some qualities with the other ensembles, its methods and results are quite distinct. “I think ArtCo, like every other performance ensemble, is
a great way to take a break from the stress of school and support your peers in their work,” Nahrmann said. “Although our shows often involve humor, it isn’t our sole focus like the comedy groups. We also have freer rein with what we choose to work with for source material.” This sense of freedom seems to describe ArtCo as a whole, encompassing its commitment to experimentation and reinvention. Member Bennett Urian ‘20, who joined the group in the fall of 2017, describes what he and Nahrmann refer to as “source material” with broad strokes full of room for new and exciting possibilities. “The creative process behind
[ArtCo’s] essence is personalized, generated directly from the minds of each member and fostered by an electric community of fellow out-of-the-box thinkers. what we do always starts with source material. This can range from avant-garde instrumentals to children’s book illustrations to squirrel ballet,” said Urian. “Sometimes we come up with the source material ourselves through free-writes, which is a concept Elena [Nahrmann] brought to the group that started a lot of our ideas. Either way, art has to start from something, and we use this source material to rev up our thinking.” This changeable aspect of the group’s work is treasured by Nahrmann. “My favorite part of ArtCo is the opportunity we have to play,” Nahrmann said. “We are the directors, the writers and the actors in all of our shows so whatever we make is entirely our own. But this also means that we can’t rely on someone else to do the work for us … We often try to come up with a theme or some source material at the beginning of the semester. Then throughout our rehearsals see
ArtCo page 7
THE MUHLENBERG WEEKLY ARTS & CULTURE THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 2018
Cole Geissler / The Muhlenberg Weekly
By Ethan Forrer Staff Writer If I had to describe what I predict the upcoming Ubu Roi, or King Ubu for those without Google Translate, I wouldn’t, and that would be the best way to describe it. As an absurdist production, it is not meant as a work to be predicted, but rather one which disregards the logic of the time. This style of theatre, known as Dadaism, emerged in the early 1900s. Almost every scene in this play builds on the one before, escalating the craziness like the set’s impossible staircase, always finding more ways to undermine your expectations. An important aspect of this play to understand is that it is also a very dark commentary on the suffocating greedy quest for power. To make a theatrical analogy: it’s like the chronicle of a more successful Macbeth—a Macbeth wearing a mask, but one with a very large nose. You may find this play to be evocative of our current political climate, and this is done very much on purpose. In the official statement released with this play, Professor Francine Roussel, director, compares King Ubu’s reign over Poland to the current U.S. Administration. “I personally think that we need a show like this to start a dialogue,” said Gabi Adamo ’18, who plays Mother Ubu, Ubu Roi’s partner in crime. Adamo continues on to emphasize the fact that this play was written over 100 years ago and so, while it is political, it isn’t a specific enough script to really take a literal stance on what is occurring right now. “ … It’s not
that if you’re pro-Trump then don’t come see this show. [The show] is creating a dialogue of the actual leadership choices that a dictator would make in these circumstances.” This play is not just another anti-Trump message: it brings issues of greed and corruption to the forefront of people’s minds, issues that have been around for as long as we can remember. “This play is also a testament of what power does to people,” Mike Poyntz ’20, a member of the unusually active ensemble, explains. “You can make connections to different oppressive policies that all presidents have made . . . There are some decisions in here that you can connect to all leaders across the world, including our own previous presidents.” The character of King Ubu is one that everyone can find a real life example of, whether it be President Trump or any other political figure that someone disagrees with. It’s with this in mind that I would like to stress that the intentions of the cast and crew should not stop you from coming to this production because you will find at least one of King Ubu’s escapades to tie you into the illogical world of the play. With the political disclaimers out of the way, here’s a detailed analysis predicting all the reasons you should come see this play. If you’re like me, it’s been quite a while since you’ve seen a theatrical production that actually embraces the fictional realm that it resides in, disposing of this world’s laws of physics as unnecessary baggage, and wallows in its own disregard for the mental capacity of the mere mortals who
watch it. Sure, absurdism isn’t for everyone, but from the energy and the enjoyment that I saw from cast during a rehearsal, I am confident that throughout the full show even the most juvenile or mature audience members will be constantly entertained, and when entertainment is done right like it is here, is there really anything else that you need? In my experience, one of the most common pitfalls that satirical plays can be afflicted by is the concept of metaacting. When performing in a way that is meant to mimic and mock another form of art, people usually have a tendency to act to the role instead of the action as is typically preferred. This creates a veil that can be hidden behind by discounting all flaws with the production as intentional commentaries on the common issues with whatever is being parodied. However, this is not a problem that we’ll be seeing in Ubu Roi, not under the watchful eye of the director or the experienced, veteran actor cast. Just because the play is fantastically absurdist doesn’t mean that the acting should break away from the realism we’ve come to expect from all modern day theater. This of course adds to the humor of the play; for instance, the only thing funnier than an extravagant buffoon waving around a toilet plunger is when he’s a merciless dictator wielding his malevolent king’s scepter. I think my favorite aspect of this play can be summed up by a something I overheard Roussel, the director, saying to one of the cast members during the
rehearsal: “In this play, we don’t question anything.” This is counter-intuitive because in theater, much like any other academic work of interpretation, it is considered natural to question everything that is written down for it must, of course, hold some importance. What this little quote highlights is the extreme “roll with the punches” style that is present in many scenes in the play. Relying heavily on casting multiple roles for each actor, the play implements this unusual pillowstuffing format where one actor can play different characters, each with a different exaggerated body type depending on the placement of the pillow. This becomes quite important when, over a matter of seconds all within the same scene, characters can be cut down dead, then the actor rolls off the stage and runs to the side of the set before re-entering as an entirely new character as if none of that double-casting shenanigans had occurred at all. I find this play to be theater at its free-est and finest, truly a show most anyone can enjoy and remain entertained by. Ubu Roi will be reigning over the black box theater from Wednesday Feb. 21 until that following Sunday, with a panel discussion of Muhlenberg professors from every discipline talking about the meeting of politics and entertainment from 2 to 3:15 in the studio theater on Friday Feb. 23.
THE MUHLENBERG WEEKLY ARTS & CULTURE THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 2018
from ArtCo page 5 Then throughout our rehearsals we do a series of exercises based around sound or movement to create small pieces which eventually get organized into a show.” Fall 2017’s show, “Tadpoles,” was the product of a semesterlong exploration of these small pieces, which, once patterns were spotted and ideas were organized, eventually became a highly individualized, audiencecentric experience. Urian recalls the evolution from free-write to performance, a process that continued even as the show was put into motion. “One specific free-write we did was a eulogy to a lost object, and almost everyone wrote about some sentimental object or concept they lost while growing up, and this was the direction we went in for the show,” said Urian. “We first had the audience write their own little eulogy to a lost object, and then they went on a scavenger hunt of sorts to find all the members of ArtCo (each one of us was a frog). Since there was not enough time for everyone to see each vignette (and some vignettes changed with the time of the show), the show was a different experience for each person, and this was a sort of representation of our own unique experiences and losses. This ended with a monologue of rejecting sentimentality and then desiring it, and then
Movement of Expression: introducing Muhlenberg’s Afropop By Lauren Mazur A&C Editor
Photo Courtesy of Demi Demetriades Previous displays like 2016’s “Threaded” create high expectations for this year’s upcoming productions.
we did a play that Genevieve [Wall ‘18] wrote when she was in elementary school. And then there was a dance party.” As Wilkie states, there is perhaps no way to describe ArtCo better than to say that they’re very them — their essence is personalized, generated directly from the minds of each member and fostered by an electric
community of fellow out-ofthe-box thinkers. One thing’s for sure: this group is ready to take on the new year equipped with new ideas, new members and maybe even a dance party or two. Be on the lookout for some ArtCo “happenings” popping up around campus. You never know when you too could become a part of the story.
To allow the world to move you—to feel, hear, and drown you—is to relinquish a sense of self to the music. Music, being the essence (and perhaps interpretation) of the world around us, can oftentimes serve as a means of communication regarding the self and physical world. One of these forms is that of the rhythmic movement of the body. Starting this semester, a new dance ensemble is taking the stage. I had the privilege to interview Grace Duah ‘20 and was able to learn a bit more regarding the ensemble’s start and current goals. “We are celebrating African heritage and bringing it to Muhlenberg College … there is a significant African population and … we felt it necessary to have a means to celebrate the heritage of dance in Africa.” The ensemble itself is titled Afropop, which will be covering various genres within African dance—forming around a range from more traditional themes to more pop-based elements. “Afropop is a dance group that celebrates the different music styles in an African view. A lot
of people don’t know that there are different dance styles in Africa… like acro (which is dance that focuses on flexibility)… there’s ballerinas, there’s hiphop dancers, there’s like slow dancers… as well as more traditional dancing. [Afropop] highlights all of the different styles.” I asked Duah to further discuss Afropop’s origin and means of starting this semester: “Initially, Kate [Ekanem ‘21], an international from Nigeria, had the idea and then shared it with me…and we, along with Wilhelmina [Minnie ‘19], proposed and then got approved as a club last December.” Afropop seems like an exciting new ensemble that I look forward to seeing perform on stage. As Duah further describes: “[To have] different cultures and different styles to showcase on campus is really appropriate and essential to the growth of the campus in general.” If you are interested in joining, please contact Grace Duah for further information; rehearsals will happen Thursdays at around ten in the evening. “It’s open to everyone and if anyone’s interested in joining, please contact one of us,” said Duah.
THE MUHLENBERG WEEKLY OP/ED THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 2018
In print we trust Thirty years ago, the United States Supreme Court ruled that a school sponsoring a newspaper has the right to censor its content. The case in question, Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier, involved a high school principal who had censored student articles on parental divorce and student pregnancy under the argument that the material would be “unsuitable” for underclassman. The Supreme Court ultimately decided that the school had every right to censor an organization that it funded. The Weekly has long been the independent student voice of the College, but as one of the many clubs that receives a budget derived from the student activities fee, we recognize the potential risk in printing this editorial, a risk established by the Court’s ruling. Although we have yet to encounter any particular content which we feel would risk censorship, we have certainly run stories in the last year on topics that do not necessarily paint the College in the best light. We’ve led the coverage of a robbery on campus, the firing of a security company over alleged racial slurs, and multiple student protests, among others. In short, we have tackled difficult topics, but we are far from publishing the Pentagon Papers. Our goal for this semester, though, is to take one step
closer, to push our boundaries a little more between what should be reported and what needs to be reported. And, as always, we will be as fair and accurate as possible, even in our exploration of subjects that are highly sensitive, and we will push ourselves to dig deeper in our reporting. Bearing in mind the Hazelwood case, we nevertheless feel confident about this renewed journalistic vigor because it is an essential part of the liberal arts mission: to produce and encourage intelligent, free-thinking students unafraid to challenge the status quo. Any attempt to stifle coverage of vital information would be antithetical to this idea. We view the responsibility to exercise the freedom of the press guaranteed by the first amendment similarly to that of your right to vote — something we continually implore our readers to do. Any type of inaction diminishes the influence of the freedoms we should be fighting to protect — now more than ever. Ultimately, we feel the question boils down to this: if we neglect our responsibility as student journalists privileged by both the first amendment and our position at a liberal arts school, would we be risking the erosion of our essential freedoms? We would argue yes.
From the Editorial Board of The Muhlenberg Weekly
In each edition of the newspaper, The Muhlenberg Weekly publishes an unsigned staff editorial written by the senior editors. Any such editorials that appear without a byline represents the majority opinion of the Editorial Board and thus, are the official opinion of The Weekly.
The Muhlenberg Weekly views itself as an open forum for students to voice their opinions on all relevant topics. Opinions expressed in the Op/Ed section of this paper are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Weekly or Muhlenberg College.
It is the policy of The Muhlenberg Weekly to foster relationships with its readership, including through discourse in its Opinion/Editorial section. Therefore, members of the College Community are encouraged to submit Letters to the Editor on any topic of interest to Muhlenberg, in direct reference to an article or otherwise. See our website for submission requirements.
The Weekly also invites guest opinion submissions if the author believes that more than 250 words are warranted. Individuals looking to submit such an article should contact the Opinion/Editorial editor (firstname.lastname@example.org) or the Editor-in-Chief (weeklyeditor@ gmail.com) to discuss the topic. The Weekly does not guarantee publication of guest submissions.
A letter to my brother on Aziz Ansari: By Michelle Rajan Contributing Writer
Dear Jona, You’re thirteen years old as I write this letter. Now, I don’t want to be the one to get you to think about anything other than “Fortnite” but, one day, you’ll have serious feelings about a girl. And one day, you’ll play the role of Aziz Ansari. You’ve never seen Master of None, but you know who Aziz is — remember when I started screaming because a brown guy won an award at the Golden Globes? That was Aziz. Do you remember when, a couple days later, I started screaming because a brown guy violated a woman? Yeah... that was Aziz, too. Last September, a young woman was thrilled to be going on a date with one of her favorite comedians, Aziz Ansari. After dinner, they went to his house and, only minutes after arriving, he began making moves that made her uncomfortable. She gave physical cues of her discomfort, but Aziz persisted anyway. When word of this spread, people were quick to label him as a “sexual predator” with the likes of Harvey Weinstein and Louis C.K. They scrutinized his character, shocked to find that a self-identified feminist and advocate for people of color wasn’t as “woke” as he made himself appear. They completely missed the point. Here’s the thing: Aziz is guilty of sexual misconduct, but that doesn’t make him a sexual predator. His behavior that night mirrors that of many men. The rapist kind? No... your kind. He’s funny. He’s cute. He’s Indian. He’s just like you. He’s been taught to persist in times of struggle and even in the presence of an uncomfortable girl. Just like you. We’ve seen countless movies together with the same plot: Guy pursues girl. Girl doesn’t like guy. Guy tries to convince girl. Girl is unsure of her feelings. Guy persists. They fall in love. And as much as I want to villainize that whole sequence, even I’m guilty of sobbing over how romantic it is. But when this carries over into the real world, it’s a plot that never works in a sexual context. Aziz thought everything that happened after dinner was consensual. Sure, he may have noticed a few mixed signals. So all he had to do was follow the movie plot: pursue her, convince her a little more, and, above all, keep
persisting... right? But Jona, if you were approaching a traffic signal that’s switching from yellow to red to green in a matter of seconds, you wouldn’t floor it and speed through the intersection. You’d hesitate. You’d question what’s going on. You’d stop. You will encounter women who are comfortable with anything. You will encounter women who need time. You will encounter women with a multitude of preferences and when you begin making your moves, you must figure out what she wants — without being a mind reader. It sounds like an impossible task, but there’s a simple solution: talk to her. If Aziz had questioned the mixed signals, stopped to ask if she was comfortable, he would have avoided the irreparable aftermath. It’s not enough to just “not be a rapist” in situations like this. Aziz’s story is the example we needed: you could write a book called Modern Romance, wear a Time’s Up pin, seem like the world’s most non-threatening guy and still find yourself stumbling into a case of sexual misconduct. Aziz Ansari’s story is a unique one for the #MeToo movement — the chances of you acting like Larry Nassar are slim but the chances of you following in Aziz’s footsteps are dangerously high. Jona, if you never learn the appropriate etiquette, then you’ll never know when you’re stepping out of line. You’re never going to hear the rules from our parents, since they usually pretend sex doesn’t exist. I understand how this lack of communication makes the idea of talking to a woman about consent even more unfamiliar and daunting. But this is where you get to prove that you’re not Aziz. Who knows, you might even score a second date. Lots of love, Thatha
Going mad with power Will Wamser THE Op/Ed Editor Before I address the issues regarding this topic, I feel it necessary to give a little background about myself. I’m a country boy who’s trying to make it in the big city. Back home I was a little fish in a big pond, now I’m in the ocean and, guess what, I don’t know how to swim. So, for those of you who don’t know me, leave. Now. If you do know me that means you don’t like me which means you are a hater. And do you know what we do to haters here at The Muhlenberg Weekly? Nothing, not yet. But I’ve just
gone from being a contributing writer to the section editor for Op/Ed, and I’m planning on going mad with power. I haven’t quite gone mad with power just yet, but if things go my way, all this power will go straight to my head. Now, you must be thinking “Will, I love your work and congratulations on the new position, but if you are already in the position why not just go mad with power now? Why wait?” First off, thank you for your congratulations, that’s kind of you. And to answer your question, I’ve already taken a sip from the goblet that will eventually make me drunk with power. This paper never had columns before, but I’ve abused a little bit of power and now there are two columns. Count them, two. Another reason I am waiting is because I’m still not sure what power I have. I know I can create columns, and I’ve already abused that, but I’m not sure what other responsibilities I have. So, I’m waiting a little bit, just until I actually know what I’m doing and how I can take advantage of it. But, dear reader, if I may be honest with you, the real reason I’m waiting to go mad with power is because I’m scared. That’s right, a jock like me is scared. Laugh at Mr. Muscles, a.k.a me, if you want but it’s the truth. I’m scared that I might remember some of the little people, or worse yet that I might remember how they helped me to get to where I am today. Ever since I was a boy frolicking through the one corn field behind my house I’ve dreamed of ruling with an iron fist. But now as I am given the opportunity of a lifetime, the chance to begin my tyrannical reign over the entire opinion and editorial section of a small liberal arts college newspaper, I’m scared I don’t have it in me. What if I accidentally don’t scream at Janet for doing nothing wrong? Or if I forget to use my power to force Ken give me a massage? What if I never bribe the editor-in-chief to keep my arrests off the books? I don’t know that I would be able to live with myself, much less forgive myself. But, it’s like I always say, the word “impossible” is just “I’m possible” hiding in negativity. And you know what, I am possible! If I don’t abuse my power, no one will. So, if you need me, I’m going to show someone my tiny, spindly, little knees, because I’m the section editor of Op/Ed at The Weekly darn it and no one can stop me. If you want to thank me for this inspiring tale, hit me up on facebook. If you don’t, I don’t care because to me everyone is my employee and I cannot be touched, for as of right now, I’ve officially gone mad with power.
THE MUHLENBERG WEEKLY OP/ED THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 2018
Point / Counterpoint
Responding to the Center for Ethics talk “Palestinian Christians: Past Present and Future” The need for open-mindedness in the climate surrounding Dr. Atshan’s visit Jouman Barakat Contributing Writer Sa’ed Atshan presented an incredibly well-researched, eloquent and necessary talk on Feb. 1. As the only Palestinian on campus, no words would serve justice to my feelings of gratefulness and thankfulness to Dr. Atshan, Dr. Finkelstein and the Center for Ethics at Muhlenberg. The reason as to why it was imperative to give Dr. Atshan the floor to speak about his story is that there is an overwhelming support of Zionism on this campus. It was a beneficial learning opportunity not only for the people who weren’t very knowledgeable about the topic, but also the people who fall on the opposite end of the spectrum. With that being said, I personally felt very disrespected and also disappointed with the way that the students handled his talk. It felt as if some students joined the event not to learn and ask discussion-provoking questions, but rather to dehumanize and belittle the points from Dr. Atshan’s own experiences. Therefore, I think Muhlenberg still has a lot of work to do in this regard, and that speakers addressing similar issues and taking the same standpoints as Dr. Atshan are crucial to the student body. The reason I say that a similar viewpoint is needed is because we already have the opposing one on campus, in large numbers. In the two years that I’ve been on campus, it’s been incredibly rare, almost never, that I hear any discussion about Palestine (or in other words, the “other” side, to speak broadly). Considering the fact that we’re at a liberal arts college, and for many other reasons, the lack of understanding and knowledge towards the Palestinian-Israeli conflict needs to change. One thing that also made me feel very uncomfortable was the fact that there were numerous requests to bring a speaker from the opposing perspective of Dr. Atshan’s to address the student body. To reiterate what Dr. Atshan said, nobody ever asks to hear homophobic perspectives, or white supremacists, or anti-Semitic perspectives, so why should there be chance for any anti-Palestine oppressor to speak? As some may call my beliefs anti-Semitic and extremist, I think it is important to clarify a few things while highlighting significant parts of Dr. Atshan’s speech. Firstly: to be pro-Palestinian and antiZionism is not to be anti-Semitic, but it is rather to be supportive for basic human rights for Palestinians (the victims, the oppressed) and against the occupation (Israel, the oppressors). I would be dumbfounded to hear a claim stating that Israel hasn’t been occupying Palestine, or that Palestine doesn’t exist. These beliefs require a basic history lesson before starting an intelligent conversation/discussion
about the conflict. Secondly, as Dr. Atshan stated, a Jewish state is not an ideal place to live if you are somebody that does not identify to be Jewish. Equally, an Islamic state is not an ideal place to live if you are somebody that does not identify to be Muslim. This does not take away from the need for a Jewish homeland, or a Muslim homeland, or a Christian homeland, for all three faiths are equal in importance and deserve the right of respect and existence.
In the two years that I’ve been on campus, it’s been incredibly rare, almost never, that I hear any discussion about Palestine (or in other words, the “other” side, to speak broadly). Considering the fact that we’re at a liberal arts college, and for many other reasons, the lack of understanding and knowledge towards the Palestinian-Israeli conflict needs to change. The reality of things is this: Palestine is an occupied land. Jewish people need and quite frankly, truly deserve their own homeland and their basic human rights, but not at the expense of Palestinian lives — or any lives for that matter. As a populous that went through innumerable accounts of trauma, religious cleansing, murder, rape, torture, suffering, and so many more indescribable events, Jewish people’s sense of understanding for the Palestinian occupation and their ongoing ethnic cleansing should accompany basic knowledge. After all, Dr. Atshan’s talk was part of the “Troubling Truth” series, and we need to accept it as it is. With all of this being said, I encourage everybody reading this to reach out to me to have a discussion about all of this. The least any of us could do is be openminded and up for coffee and a chat. A discussion’s purpose is not to convince, but rather to educate.
Address both sides! On the discussion of Israeli and Palestinian conflict Jake Gordon Contributing Writer The Miller Forum was buzzing with energy as the as the clock hit 7 p.m. and as the speaker, Dr. Sa’ed Atshan, was introduced to present his talk, “Palestinian Christians: Past, Present, and Future.” I am passionate about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and therefore was deeply interested in the talk. While I anticipated a discussion of controversial topics like the occupation in the West Bank and Gaza. With Dr. Atshan’s impressive track record and reputation of academic excellence (being a Harvard PhD. and Swarthmore Professor), I also expected his talk would foster a balanced and productive conversation about the controversial issue.
It is important that each side is given the opportunity to present their viewpoints candidly and openly, which is why I value Dr. Atshan’s perspective. Dr. Atshan’s first few slides described his church in the West Bank, with pictures of his family, friends, and teachers from the Quaker high school he attended in Ramallah, and a brief historical outline of the Palestinian Christian traditions and the community’s ties to the land historically known as Palestine and presently Israel. This was all new information to me and to hear the story of his people was fascinating. But within a few minutes, the narrative transitioned from historical and informational to a highly politically charged nationalist and one-sided presentation of the humanitarian struggle that “all” of the Palestinian people face living in the occupied territory, and an examination of the atrocities that are allegedly being committed by the State of Israel. Dr. Atshan showed distressing maps, charts, and even graphic images of suffering Palestinians individuals. He rattled off facts that described the many human rights violations committed by Israel against these people, and painted a picture of Israel as a monstrous colonial oppressor that is brutalizing an indigenous population through unimaginable tactics. Any person with a moral and ethical conscious would have been moved by his words, which he presented in an articulate, relatable, and methodical way with doses of comic relief.
Yet, I felt duped. I was eager to challenge him with questions that referenced my understanding of the very complicated geo-political situation. I expected that he would at least have the courtesy to talk in a professional way about a different perspective. Dr. Atshan, however, seemed to have no interest in a dialogue or acknowledgement of the Israeli side, where millions of citizens live in constant fear of terrorism and violence. Though he condemned violence from organizations like Hamas, Dr. Atshan suggested that terrorism is a byproduct of the suffocating occupation. He seemed sympathetic toward Hamas and refused to hold them accountable for the suffering of Gazans. When a student asked him about the possibility that the Israel’s border wall saved lives, he belittled her question with a joke that drew laughs and painted her as uneducated. When a student requested that he acknowledge that there is another side to the conflict for the uninformed in the room, he responded that to ask this of him was “dehumanizing.” Leaving this talk, many students and faculty attending that came in uninformed on one of the most complex political conflicts were stripped of the ability to make an informed opinion. If we are going to talk about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on campus it is essential to provide a holistic lens. Inviting a speaker that refuses to recognize any other side than his own (to an impressionable audience) is irresponsible. It is important that each side is given the opportunity to present their viewpoints candidly and openly, which is why I value Dr. Atshan’s perspective. But I’m troubled that he was invited as part of a lecture series titled ‘Troubling Truths,’ inherently implying that the words spoken must be factual and uncontested. After all, they are about “truths,” right? To categorically assume that everything Dr. Atshan said is true and without recognizing the other side of the conflict may leave, students with the idea that there is no other side to the issue. I am grateful that we are having this conversation at Muhlenberg, it is an important one. But in the spirit of intellectual curiosity and Muhlenberg’s mission “to develop independent critical thinkers who are intellectually agile” and “characterized by a zest for reasoned and civil debate” let’s approach this more that mission in mind. In the days since the talk, the administration has been helpful and receptive to this, which I appreciate and feel it shows that they care about the dialogue too. A liberal arts approach to the Israeli and Palestinian conflict can only be achieved if we bring in more speakers willing to examine other angles in this multifaceted subject.
THE MUHLENBERG WEEKLY SPORTS, THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 2018
from Birds page 12 members of my family have had season tickets for over 40 years. We have supported the Eagles through great times and tough times and the support has never wavered. This was just an amazing ending to an even better season and I just look forward to the parade to day,” said Cooperman. This win marked the Eagles first ever Super Bowl victory and their first NFL title since their 1960 NFL championship
win over the Green Bay Packers. Despite the Philadelphia Phillies’ World Series win in 2008, recent times have not been too kind to Philadelphia professional sports teams. The 76ers and Flyers have struggled for decades, failing to bring a title of their own to the ‘City of Brotherly Love’ since 1983 and 1975, respectively. Jack Mangas ‘20 is another Muhlenberg student hailing from the Philadelphia area that was thrilled about the Eagles victory. In the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl, he remained confident in
his team, and his belief in his team was ultimately rewarded. “I honestly feel like I haven’t fully processed [the victory] yet. I’ve spent so much time thinking about what I would do if the Eagles ever actually won the Super Bowl, and how great that it would be, that it still feels like a dream and not something that’s really happened. I’m obviously incredibly happy, but my strongest emotion right now is the pride in the team, the city and the fans. They came together despite losing some of their most
important pieces, and still managed to pull it off when everyone doubted them. It’s an amazing feeling,” said Mangas. With the parade set to take place today in Philadelphia, many Muhlenberg students will make the short commute to Broad Street to celebrate with their families, with their friends and with their city. This is a great moment not only for Philadelphians, but for the state of Pennsylvania as well. It’s an incredible time to be an Eagles fan at Muhlenberg College. Fly Eagles Fly.
Behind the Mules’ Gains
By Steven Shoemaker Staff Writer
Constructed in 1982 and renovated in 2004, the Life Sports Center is frequently used by many students on Muhlenberg’s campus. Specifically, Muhlenberg’s 22 sports teams spend hours on end in the LSC training for their respective seasons. Muhlenberg’s student-athletes are not only conditioned and practiced by their team’s coaches, but the College also has four strength and conditioning coaches that help athletes prepare for game days. The staff is headed by Director of Strength and Conditioning Darin Thomas, who is aided by Troy Moyer, Anna-Kate “Tattie” DePaolo and Deon Edwards. Darin Thomas has been fully committed to Muhlenberg’s athletes for the past six years. During his 24 years of being a collegiate strength and conditioning coach, Thomas has learned about the various aspects that contributes to an athlete’s success. Prior to coming to Muhlenberg, Thomas graduated from State University of New York at Cortland with a master’s degree in physical education. After graduating, he took his knowledge to Windsor Central School in New York. He was an assistant football and Strength and Conditioning Coach. Thomas also worked at the University of Richmond for nine years as the Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach and at the University of Notre Dame in the Physical Education Department for seven years. Thomas believes that certain key factors contribute to an athlete’s success, among them: strength training, conditioning, nutrition, cardiovascular exercise, flexibility, weight management, endurance and injury prevention. An important aspect of Thomas’ job is to incorporate different workouts for each team, as every team needs to focus on specific muscle groups. “It’s very important for the athletes to get individual attention,” said Thomas. The advantage of having four coaches is that teams will get more one on one attention and teams are able to incorporate in more individualized programs.
“We have a great staff for Division III sports. I could not ask for anything more. I have the best job out of anyone on campus,” said Thomas. Troy Moyer, one of the assistant coaches, graduated from Sacred Heart University with a bachelor’s in exercise science and a focus in strength and conditioning. Moyer took human physiology and nutrition classes, which were all tailored around how to work with the human body relating to sports. During this time shadowing different conditioning coaches, he learned all of the proper techniques and how to create a program in the weight room. Specifically, Moyer learned how to tailor the work outs to certain sports, so they will know what to focus on specifically. “When we find out what team we are working with we do lots of research, so that we can know what movements they do and what body parts need to be focused on” said Moyer. For example, tennis players will work more on exercises that consist of lateral movement, quick steps and arm strength. With all sports, the women have more flexibility, therefore working with the men on flexibility is crucial. On the other hand, women are more prone to ACL injuries, so they will work more on certain injury prevention techniques. “You hear more about ACL injuries today, than you ever did before” explained Moyer. Experience of the athlete is taken into consideration as well when creating workouts. The coaches are careful and cognisant that some freshmen may not be as experienced with the exercises they are expected to complete in college athletics. This reduces them coming across a potential injury. Moyer stressed the importance of utilizing the weight room and the strength and conditioning coaches. “Not many teams are going to win if they are not the most physically fit and in the best shape possible,” said Moyer. Moyer loves his position here at Muhlenberg and specifically appreciates the close relationships that he establishes with the athletes.“This job combines the two things I love the most, lacrosse and strength and conditioning,” explained Moyer.
Anna-Kate “Tattie” DePaolo is another staff member in the athletic Strength and Conditioning staff.. After graduating in 2014 from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania with an exercise science major, DePaolo found her place in Muhlenberg’s community where she has been working for the past four years. “I enjoy meeting different studentathletes and being a part of their experience. Our Athletic Department and facilities are awesome to work in and I really appreciate how Darin allows me to do my own thing.” The final member of the team is Deon Edwards. Graduating from the University of Coastal Carolina in 2015, Edwards utilizes his exercise and sports science major daily. Edwards played football in college for three years, so he combines his strength and conditioning skills along with his knowledge of football with the football team. Edwards has worked at Muhlenberg for the past 10 months. Although has not been here very long, Edwards does not hesitate in sharing the appreciation that he has for his job. “I couldn’t have asked for a better job right out of college. I have a great supervisor in Darin and I have great co-workers” said Edwards. Something that is particularly interesting is how Muhlenberg’s Strength and Conditioning Coaches are not permitted to work with the athletes over the summer. Despite this, in their free time they will still research different exercises and create workouts for when the 22 varsity sports teams start up again. Director Darin Thomas discussed the six goals to success that are vital in Muhlenberg’s Strength and Conditioning program: 1) Decrease chance of injuries, 2) Making athletes stronger, 3) Improve movement skills, 4) Improving body composition, such as education and nutrition, 5) Improve confidence, 6) Improve game day performance. The four Strength and Conditioning Coaches dedication to Muhlenberg’s athletes and community is remarkable. As any coach and player would attest, their programs would not have achieve the success they do if not for the contributions of Troy Moyer and the three other members of the athletic training staff.
Photo courtesy of Libby Juliano
THE MUHLENBERG WEEKLY SPORTS, THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 2018 from Milne page 12 the game. Both her mother and father played basketball. Dad Art was inducted into the College of St. Joseph hall of fame and mom Judy would run the clock or take down the book at her daughters’ games. In second grade, her parents installed a backyard court for the three daughters who followed in their footsteps. “We had lines painted and everything so it was an awesome place to practice,” said Vallely. “I remember our dad taking us out there to practice, and my sisters still give me a hard time because they weren’t allowed to block my shot until I got taller.” That is where her basketball training really began – at home, against two opponents older, taller and more skilled than her, with a hall of famer for a coach. Her father would give the girls drills and workouts, like 25 layups on the right then on the left then down the middle. Day after day, year after year, Vallely would come home, often from a practice or game of her own, and play one-on-one against Danielle or Nicole, which fostered a bit of a sibling rivalry. “I think growing up with two sisters that played made me really learn the game,” said Vallely. “Especially going against older, taller, more experienced players like them helped me once I started playing at my own age level.” For Vallely, Art was both dad and coach. He was by her side, coaching her recreational, travel,
AAU and summer ball teams until she started middle school. Towards the end of his time coaching her, Art led Vallely’s “fifth grade ragtag summer ball team” to victory in a game they “had no business winning.” According to Vallely, he was a great basketball player – playing up until a few years ago, and still joining beach or church leagues for pickup – and it shows in his coaching. “I try to emulate his passing when I play,” said Vallely. “Even though I never saw him play in college, obviously, watching him play later on, he has such a good court sense and I think that’s a major take away from him.” As Vallely grew older, her teams and coaches changed. In her freshman year at Oley Valley High School, she went from one-on-ones on the backyard court to capturing the district title for the Lynx in Hershey arena. Despite a missed season from tearing her anterior cruciate ligament, Vallely became a four-year letterwinner, served as captain for three years and set the school record for career points with 1,551. She was arguably the best player the town had ever seen. By then, she may have been the best player the Vallely family had ever seen. Danielle ended her competitive basketball career after playing one year at Cedarville University, and Nicole chose soccer and played all four years at Mt. Saint Mary’s University. After early marks of success caught the attention of head coach Ron Rohn, Brandi Vallely
turned in her blue Oley Valley uniform for a red Muhlenberg jersey. Vallely learned early on that being the best does not come without a price. After months of preparation and practice, and trying to fit in as a freshman on a majority-upperclassmen team, Vallely broke her foot about a week before games started – and a week before she would officially begin her college basketball career. “It was really devastating for me because I came to the school for the sport and I just wanted to play,” said Vallely. “It was a really tough time for me because I had missed a season in high school and now I’d have to miss another season.” Vallely was limited to five games due to her injury, as well as being a freshman on a team with seven record-breaking upperclassmen who led the Mules to a Centennial Conference Championship and into the NCAA tournament. Nonetheless, she made her comeback during her sophomore year - a comeback that was much bigger than anyone had imagined. Vallely recorded a tripledouble (13 points, 15 assists, 10 rebounds) against Moravian College in her first career start. She scored in the double digits in all but three games during her sophomore season. She broke a 10-year-old record for assists in a season by 99, compiling an astounding 263 helpers in 28 games. By the end of the season, Val-
lely ranked first in the Centennial Conference in assists and steals, and in the top 10 in freethrow percentage, scoring, fieldgoal percentage and rebounds. She led Division III in assists and ranked 17th in steals. She was the NCAA statistical champion for assists per game, out of the three divisions. Not surprisingly, Vallely was awarded the Weikert Award for Muhlenberg’s sophomore athlete of the year and was named Lehigh Valley Player of the Year. Her success continued into her junior season. Despite a minor injury that forced her to sit in the beginning of the season yet again, Vallely took control of Muhlenberg’s all-time assists record and left many people wondering if anyone could stop her rise to the top. Now, close to the conclusion of her final season, stopping Brandi Vallely seems almost impossible. On Jan. 6, Vallely’s nine assists against Washington College earned her sole possession of the Centennial Conference all-time assists record, a feat that took her 45 fewer games to achieve than the previous record holder. With three games left and under 70 assists separating her from the now second-highest number, her spot looks secure for some time. On Jan. 23, within reach of a valuable milestone, Vallely sits in the locker focused on “trusting our stuff,” her favorite advice from Rohn. Art and Judy Vallely sit in Memorial Hall. They have beat their own daughter to
11 the gym, eagerly waiting on the sidelines hours before the game begins, ready to watch their youngest daughter make history. Art may be a hall-of-famer but tonight he is the dad of one of Muhlenberg women’s basketball’s best players. Eight minutes and 22 seconds after draining a three pointer on the first possession of the game, with just 15 seconds ticked off the clock, Brandi Vallely steps to the foul line. With no points but plenty of assists between then and this moment, she plants her feet, dribbles three times, spins the ball between her palms and shoots. The ball slides through the net and Rohn immediately signals a timeout. Teammate and roommate Christina Manning shakes her shoulders and the allotted 30 seconds should give number 11 plenty of time to celebrate becoming the 11th player in Muhlenberg women’s basketball history to reach 1,000 points. A young Brandi Vallely sits on the bleachers in a smalltown gymnasium. She ignores the game unfolding before her and flips to the next page of her Nancy Drew book. Nancy Drew is a game-changer – a headstrong girl who gets harder to beat with each case she solves. She is the best at what she does. In a little over a decade, Vallely will be the same, a player in sole possession of record after record, both at Muhlenberg and in the conference. She has continued her father’s legacy, being the best at what she does.
Mules on the rise in McLean’s first season By Josh Lederman Senior Staff Writer October 16, 2017, marked a new era for the Muhlenberg wrestling program. After the unexpected resignation of head coach Sean Lally in late September of 2017, Muhlenberg hired an accomplished wrestling alumnus Jason McLean as their new head coach. Despite being hired less than a month before the season started, McLean was prepared to step in his new role and lead the talented and up and coming wrestling program to new heights for the coming season. At the beginning of the season, McLean described the team as “young but seasoned” and had stated how essential it was to “make it known to the Centennial Conference and Region that we won’t be at the bottom anymore.” So far this season the Mules have lived up to their coaches prediction. They have earned many ac-
complishments, which include going 4-0 at the Scotty Wood Duels, winning against two Centennial Conference opponents — including ending a sixteen year losing streak against Ursinus — staying competitive in many duels against talented conference foes, and having many individual wrestlers defeat difficult opponents during their bouts. Heading toward the Centennial Conference playoffs, McLean has praised the team’s growth and work ethic over the season and notes that the win over Ursinus was a major highlight for this season. “We have grown so much as a team and a program. Obviously beating Ursinus for the first time in 16 years stands out but these guys are right at the verge of being highly successful,” said McLean. “Even when disappointed, we have not faltered in our work ethic and determination. Everyone is in for the long haul and end game.”
After McLean was hired he said that the preparation process was going to be similar to what it was in previous years because “wrestling is wrestling.” “Intensity, organization, game planning, and working towards micro goals, as well as fine tuning individuals strong points are a focus. All things considered, we may have intensified the overall process,” he added. Sure enough, this intensified process has remained a constant throughout the season and heading into the Centennial Conference playoffs. McLean has realized that preparing for a successful season is a long-term process and understands that their will be ups and downs throughout the season. He has prepared his wrestlers for both the physical and mental aspects of the sport and has commended his wrestlers for their hard work throughout the season. “It’s important to remember that the college wrestling season
is extremely long, physical, and arduous,” said McLean. “I’d liken it to a multi-day contest like a bike race or a grueling decathlon. There are going to be good days and bad days. Your going to feel horrible more than you feel great.” “We have to prepare for all that both mentally and physically. The mind has to say ‘yes’ and ‘go’ when the body says ‘absolutely not.’ These guys are running, lifting, drilling, and beating up on each other on a daily basis,” McLean continued. “Even with a day off here and there, their minds still need to be in it. The mental part is what differentiates the highly successful from the not.” With the playoffs in the horizon, the team’s preparation will not change significantly, however focusing on a wrestler’s individual needs are important. “We also have to focus on guys individual needs. If we need a guy to bump up, maybe we put him with a heavier teammate. If a guy
needs to work his conditioning, then focus on that,” he added. Over the next five weeks, the Mules have lofty goals and realize that ending the season on a high note helps the program out in the future. McLean remarks that the team has goals for individual wrestlers and for the program as a whole, remarking that the team must “finish strong in dual meets and send our seniors off the right way as well set the bar for next season.” The path to a strong finish starts Saturday, Feb. 9 when the Mules compete in the Centennial Conference Championships in Lexington, Virginia. “Individually, we need to put some guys on the podium and Centennials and NCAA Regionals. Once, again what happens over the next 5 weeks or so sets the tone for next season and the future of the Muhlenberg Wrestling Program,” said McLean. “Our goals are high. When we attain those, we will set some that are higher.”
Thursday, February 8, 2018
Coming up this week in
Keckler bumps up to Division I By Max Shapiro Senior Staff Writer
vs Feb. 8/10 at 7:00 pm/2:00 pm Gettysburg, PA Track and Field
NYU Invitational: The Armory Fri. Feb. 9 New York, NY Wrestling
Centennial Conference Championships Sat. Feb. 10 Lexington, VA Women’s Basketball
vs Wed. Feb. 14 at 6:00 pm Memorial Hall Men’s Basketball
vs Wed. Feb. 14 at 8:00 pm Memorial Hall
The women’s volleyball program received some surprising and somewhat bittersweet news last week as head coach Alex Keckler resigned from her position. After eight years as head volleyball coach at Muhlenberg, she stepped down to make the move up to the Division I, and become the head coach for Lehigh University. “I would like to thank Corey Goff for his support and encouragement throughout this process and throughout my tenure,” said Keckler of her time at Muhlenberg. “I would also like to thank President John Williams and Dean Allison Gulati for their professional and personal support.” Keckler took charge of the program in 2010 after completing five seasons as head coach of Centennial Conference rival Gettysburg, where she built up a solid record of 96-55, along with a sparkling 40-10 conference record. Throughout her tenure at Muhlenberg, Keckler had her program thriving year in and year out. She established the Mules as a perennial contender in the Centennial Conference, as she led the the team to the conference tournament in four of the last five seasons. Keckler also holds the title of winningest coach in Muhlenberg program history, with a 141-96
Earning a Grand:
By Alyssa Hertel Managing Editor
A young girl sits on the bleachers in a small-town gymnasium. The squeak of sneakers twisting on vinyl flooring and the repetitive whump-whump-whump of a basketball making its way down the court fill her ears. Not yet tall enough to shoot on a regulation-height basket, Brandi Vallely flips the page of her Nancy Drew book, far more interested in the teenage sleuth’s quest to catch the practical joker wreaking havoc on a college basketball team than the game 10 feet in front of her.
Vallely spent a majority of her childhood at her sisters’ games, especially because Danielle and Nicole Vallely played for both their school teams and Amateur Athletic Union basketball. The youngest Vallely played as well, joining the Oley Valley Youth League in kindergarten. But with both fewer games and inches than her siblings, Vallely was content with a book on the wooden bleachers over a ball on the hardwood floor—at least as a child. Born into a basketball family, Vallely’s life revolved around see Vallely | page 10
Photo courtesy of Muhlenberg Athletics
Alexa Keckler addresses her former team during her final season as the head coach of the Mules. record. Her ability to wildly improve both her players and team became part of her winning culture. During a rocky 2010 campaign, when Keckler inherited the program, the Mules finished dead last in the Centennial Conference and won just six games. Yet three years later, the 2013 squad racked up 20 victories and reached the conference title match. The following year, they reached the championship stage again amidst a record setting season that included wins in 25 matches, along with a school record 13 game winning streak. Under Keckler, the Mules received votes in the national poll for the first time ever, along with
boasting a roster that included the program’s first All-American in 10 years. “I will be forever grateful to Muhlenberg College for the opportunity to lead the volleyball program for the last eight seasons,” said Keckler. “I am sad to leave such wonderful young ladies and such an amazing institution, but I am excited to begin the next chapter in my career.” Despite her departure, Keckler leaves the program in solid shape. Next fall the team will return its entire roster, after going 24-6 without a single senior on the team. The women earned votes in the national poll, along with receiving an NCAA regional ranking of fifth, the team’s high-
est in program history. “It’s hard for us to see a coach that we all liked and respected leave the program, but we are all excited for her opportunity at Lehigh,” said Tara Register ‘20. Laura Boll ‘20 echoed Register’s sentiments. “The team is really excited for Coach Keckler and her amazing opportunity. We know that she is going to do great things at Lehigh,” said Boll. “Although we are sad to see her leave, we’re looking forward to the spring season and the new experiences it has in store for us.” In the upcoming months, the Athletic Department will conduct a nationwide search for the next coach — no small task.
Bird fans’ spirits soar
By Alex Horowitz Sports Editor
The Super Bowl is debatably the biggest championship game in professional sports. At Muhlenberg, this year’s title game held extra weight. Eastern Pennsylvania’s local team, the Philadelphia Eagles, were playing in Super Bowl LII vs. the New England Patriots. Because of the proximity to campus and large population from the Philadelphia area, the Eagles are an extremely popular team among staff and students on the Muhlenberg campus, as well as those in the Muhlenberg community. Anticipation for this game was felt within “the Muhlenbubble” in the days leading up
to matchup. Despite posting a stellar 13-3 regular season record in 2017, the Eagles entered the Super Bowl as heavy underdogs against the Patriots, one of the greatest professional sports franchises of the 21st century. After being the underdog in all three of their playoff games this year, the Eagles actually embraced the idea of the “underdog” because of an injury to their starting quarterback just before the playoffs started. It became common to see fans and players alike adorned in dog masks, to further welcome the underdog mentality. Many Eagles fans on campus had the opportunity to travel home to watch an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with their family and friends. After three plus
hours of back-and-forth football and one of the greatest and most closely contested Super Bowls of all time, Philadelphia came away with a stunning 41-33 victory. Within minutes of the game’s conclusion, fireworks could be heard from the snowy and icy streets of Allentown. Mike Cooperman ‘19, a lifelong Eagles fan, was fortunate enough to watch the game back home in southern New Jersey, with his family full of fans bleeding green and white. “When the final Hail Mary hit the ground, I just looked at my brother and we just started yelling and jumping around my living room. I’ve been an Eagles fan for as long as I’ve been alive and see Birds | page 10
The February 8th edition of The Muhlenberg Weekly.